Faculty Articles

Title

A GIS Approach to Identifying Socially and Medically Vulnerable Older Adult Populations in South Florida

ISBN or ISSN

1758-5341

Publication Title

The Gerontologist

Volume

57

Issue

6

Publication Date / Copyright Date

11-10-2017

First Page

1133

Last Page

1141

Publisher

Oxford University Press

DOI Number

10.1093/geront/gnw106

Abstract

Purpose of the study: We define, map, and analyze geodemographic patterns of socially and medically vulnerable older adults within the tri-county region of South Florida.

Design and methods: We apply principal components analysis (PCA) to a set of previously identified indicators of social and medical vulnerability at the census tract level. We create and map age-stratified vulnerability scores using a geographic information system (GIS), and use spatial analysis techniques to identify patterns and interactions between social and medical vulnerability.

Results: Key factors contributing to social vulnerability in areas with higher numbers of older adults include age, large household size, and Hispanic ethnicity. Medical vulnerability in these same areas is driven by disease burden, access to emergency cardiac services, availability of nursing home and hospice beds, access to home health care, and available mental health services. Age-dependent areas of social vulnerability emerge in Broward County, whereas age-dependent areas of medical vulnerability emerge in Palm Beach County. Older-adult social and medical vulnerability interact differently throughout the study area.

Implications: Spatial analysis of older adult social and medical vulnerability using PCA and GIS can help identify age-dependent pockets of vulnerability that are not easily identifiable in a populationwide analysis; improve our understanding of the dynamic spatial organization of health care, health care needs, access to care, and outcomes; and ultimately serve as a tool for health care planning.

Disciplines

Medical Specialties | Medicine and Health Sciences | Osteopathic Medicine and Osteopathy

Keywords

GIS, health care access, medical vulnerability, social vulnerability

Peer Reviewed

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